By Jared Felkins
Early voters continue to visit the polls in droves for the Nov. 6 midterm elections in what will likely be a historic turnout.
Early voting totals ended Monday at 2,965, which pushed the overall early vote count to 13,824 through five days of voting.
Though the vote count was about half of what it averaged the first three days of early voting in Wilson County, 1,628 voters went to the polls Saturday to cast their votes. Early voters totaled 3,172 Friday, which was the highest mark of the three days. A total of 2,908 votes were cast Thursday, which beat Wednesday’s count of 2,862 by 46.
Across Tennessee, daily vote totals remained high as 426,149 votes were cast early as of Monday evening.
Several key races and issues are on the Nov. 6 ballot for voters to decide. They include a race for governor between frontrunners Democratic nominee Karl Dean and Republican nominee Bill Lee among several independent candidates who qualified. A race to determine who will replace Bob Corker in the U.S. Senate is also hotly contested between Republican nominee Marsha Blackburn and Democratic nominee Phil Bredesen. The frontrunners to replace Diane Black and represent the U.S. House’s Sixth District are Democratic nominee Dawn Barlow and Republican nominee John Rose.
Three key state races are up for grabs among Wilson County voters, including Republican incumbent state Sen. Mark Pody versus Democratic challenger Mary Alice Carfi for state Senate in District 17; Republican incumbent state Rep. Clark Boyd versus Democratic challenger Mark Cagle for state House in District 46; and Republican incumbent state Rep. Susan Lynn versus Democratic challenger Jordan Cole for state House in District 57.
Two municipal elections include incumbent Brian Abston and challenger Jim Bradshaw for Mt. Juliet City Commission in District 4 and Camille Burdine and Zabrina Seay for Lebanon City Council in Ward 3 to replace current Councilor Rob Cesternino, who decided not to seek re-election.
Wilson County voters will also decide on whether to raise the county’s sales tax by a half cent from 9.25 to 9.75 cents, and Watertown voters will determine whether wine can be sold in grocery stores.
Wilson County Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren reported strong turnout and a smooth start to early voting Wednesday at the Wilson County Election Commission office in Lebanon.
Warren said Wednesday at about noon, the Wilson County Election Commission offices had lines of voters out the door, which reflected the importance and level of engagement in what could be remembered as a historic midterm election throughout the country.
Early voting will continue through Nov. 1, with Election Day on Nov. 6.
Early voting sites in Wilson County include the Election Commission office at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy., Watertown Community Center at 8630 Sparta Pike, Gladeville Community Center at 95 McCreary Road and the Lighthouse Church at 6141 Saundersville Road in Mt. Juliet.
All of the locations will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., with the exception of the Lighthouse Church, which will close Wednesdays at 5 p.m.
Those who plan to vote early or on Election Day should remember to bring valid photo identification with them to the polls. A driver’s license or photo identification issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, as well as photo IDs issued by Tennessee state government or the federal government, are acceptable even if they are expired. College student identification will not be accepted.
For more information and to view the sample ballot specific to Wilson County, visit wilsonvotes.com.